For those of us who have been wondering what’s going on with Del Rey Manga, this press release just sent from Kodansha USA provides some answers at long last. The upshot seems to be that Kodansha USA will be publishing titles on their own (with distribution and sales support from Random House) beginning in December, with current Del Rey titles being shifted to the Kodansha USA imprint on a per-title basis. Here’s the full press release:
New York, NY – October 4, 2010 – Kodansha Ltd. and Random House Inc. have announced their plans to change and expand their manga publishing relationship in North America. The companies are shifting from a licensing relationship to a sales and distribution arrangement as of December 1, 2010.
The current relationship between Kodansha and Random House began in 2003, with the first titles debuting in 2004 under the latter’s Del Rey Manga imprint. Since then, more 500 volumes have been published, including many bestselling manga series.
Under the new arrangement, Kodansha’s subsidiary, Kodansha USA Publishing, LLC, established in 2008 and led by Yoshio Irie, will be publishing Kodansha-originated manga themselves directly in the U.S. English-language market with strong support from Random House Publisher Services (RHPS), Random House’s third-party distribution division. Del Rey Manga associate publisher Dallas Middaugh will remain with the program, transferring to RHPS.
“We are very excited to extend our relationship with Random House,” said Yoshio Irie, president and CEO of Kodansha USA Publishing. “Both companies see opportunity in the American manga market, and we look forward to working together to further the distribution and exposure of manga in the United States.”
“We are thrilled to have a publisher as distinctive as Kodansha USA Publishing join the Random House Publisher Services portfolio,” said Jeff Abraham, the division’s president. “Kodansha is one of the great worldwide publishing brands for the manga category, and we will do everything to support their efforts with our many booksellers and distributors who love selling manga titles.”
Del Rey’s ongoing manga titles which were licensed by Kodansha will be gradually taken over by Kodansha USA Publishing on a per-title basis.
Tokyo-based Kodansha established Kodansha USA Inc. on the occasion of their company’s 100th anniversary. Kodansha USA Publishing began by publishing Akira and The Ghost in the Shell in 2009 under the Kodansha Comics imprint. They plan to expand their strong line-up of manga under this exciting new collaboration with Random House Publisher Services.
For those of us wondering about favorite titles like xxxHolic, Nodame Cantabile, and Shugo Chara!, we can now pin our hopes on Kodansha USA.